How To Remove Rust From Brake Rotors Without Removing Wheel?

As a car driver, you would always experience getting your vehicle or the components of your vehicle dirty. This is why we have a car wash and some other washing services for our vehicle. But still, it is good to know how to clean by yourself. 

So how can you remove rust from brake rotors without removing the wheel? Here is a step-by-step process on how you can get the rust off of your brake rotors. Drive your vehicle, take away the caliper and the pads if it is needed, inspect the pads, use the brake cleaner in removing rust from the rotors, assemble it afterwards and you can do a car wash afterwards. 

Brake rotors can get really rusted and rust is not good for your engine and for your vehicle. It can affect the performance of your vehicle and the condition of your vehicle. With that, it is important, as a car driver, that you should know how to remove rust from your brake rotors and all without removing your wheel. 

Many people are asking how to remove rust from the brake rotors without removing the wheel. In this article, we’ll be talking about how you can remove rust from your brake rotors. Let us get started.

How To Remove Rust From Brake Rotors Without Removing Wheel

How Do You Get Rust Off Brake Rotors Without Removing The Wheel?

Here is a step-by-step process on how you can get the rust off of your brake rotors. 

1. Drive Your Vehicle

You will notice that you will see some rust forming on the rotors if you let your vehicle sit in just one place. You can take this rust by just driving it. You can take your vehicle out for a short drive, and then you can check the rotors. 

If the corrosion remains visible, you can take it to the next level. You can find a remote area or an empty parking lot. Start your engine in motion, get it up 10 miles per hour, and then brake very hard. 

You can do this process again a few times and then recheck the rotors. If there is still rust, you can move on to the next step. 

2. Take Away The Caliper And The Pads If It Is Needed

The rotor can be cleaned with a pad and a clipper in place. However, it would be easier to remove them. You use a box end wrench and then loosen the holds holding the caliper assembly to the guide pins on the caliper bracket. 

And then remove them. Lift the caliper assembly free of the rotor, and then you have to secure it in a position in the wheel where you can hang it without causing damage to the brake line. An old wire clothes hanger will work well, but a caliper hanger is sold out. You can use a box end wrench and then loosen the bolts and remove them.

3. Inspect The Pads

If the brakes are apart, it is recommended that you will take a moment to check and inspect the pads for any glaze on the surface. Look for a crystalline appearance. It is also good to measure the thickness of the brake pads. 

A thing that is less than 4 mm of depth must be replaced. You should also check the caliper piston boot and guide pin boots for tears.

4. Use The Brake Cleaner In Removing Rust From The Rotors

Put down the tray to catch runoff. After, spray the rotor with a brake cleaner. If you let the rotors dry, you can wipe them with a clean rag. 

You must make sure that there is no oil in the rag. If the rust remains, you must apply some brake cleaner and then work on the surface using steel wool. 

You can also use a wire brush. It would help to wipe off the rotor and then finish the final shot using a cleaner. Do this in an area that is well ventilated.

5. Assemble

The caliper might be left in place, but you can turn the rotor so that you can access the area covered by the pads. A brake cleaner will not harm the pad lining. 

6. Car Wash

If the brake cleaner and elbow grease will not do the job, you have to remove the rotors if the caliper assembly and the bracket will be removed. This is as simple as using an impact screwdriver, and you can loosen the anchor screw. 

Removing rust from your rotors is a cosmetic exercise, and it is an everyday use of the vehicle. You have to paint the hub because it will improve the appearance and prevent the non-braking surface of the rotors. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions in removing rust from your brake rotors. 

Will Rust Come Off Brake Rotors?

If it is just light rust because of a vehicle that is standing for quite some time, you can take it in for a drive, and standard braking will take that rust away. If it is more profoundly ingrained rust or you might experience some spitting, you must replace them. 

Can WD40 Remove Rust From Rotors?

A WD40 specialist automotive brake and parts cleaner is a robust and fast-acting cleaner. It will work if your vehicle is moving parts, and it can do the job very well and will not leave any residue. This WD40 is a unique formula. 

It is a fast-drying and super powerful spray. They are made to take away grease, dust, or oil from the brake and the parts, and they can cause havoc on your engine. This will work very fast if you remove any residual oil, brake fluid, or grease in a minimum time so that it can help to leave your brakes clean and then shiny. 

If you use WD40 specialist automotive brakes and parts cleaner regularly, it can extend the lifespan of your pads or brake discs. It will also help cut out brake noise to have a smooth ride. A WD40 specialist automotive brake and parts cleaner are very safe and reliable on brake assemblies, clutch, calipers, brake pads, brake lines.

What Can I Clean Brake Rotors With?

You can clean your brake rotors using an effective alternative. There are a lot of alternatives that you can use to clean your brake rotors. You can use a dash of white vinegar. 

It is a good option for cleaning your rotors. However, you might have to give it some time for the result. And you might also need to raise your vehicle and then remove the rotors when you are cleaning them. 


In summary, cleaning and removing rust from your brake motors can be difficult. There are so many people now who are asking how to clean their brake rotors without taking the wheel off. 

There are also some alternatives to cleaning your brake rotors. You can try a different alternative.

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Image credits – Canva

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My name is Hank, and I've been in the automotive industry for 27 years. I've been working in my own auto repair shop for the last 13 years, and now I want to help you here, on my blog. Let me know if you have any questions. Read more